Sunday, April 02, 2006

Why do I do Art Fairs?

The answer to the question above: To be exposed to new, cool technology! This festival's current leader is TiddlyWiki (thank you Bryon Jacob). Okay, I just recently started blogging (an admittedly linear exercise). And now I find out about blogging for the ADHD in 3D: Short and non-linear. I am not sure I buy the premise that "Human minds are not built to take in long passages of information very well; we're a lot better at taking information in little tiny chunks." For me, little chunks are as likely as not to get lost in the white noise of the day to day whereas a large chunk of data that I can visualize is easier to contextualize and remember. However there are places where tiny chunks are perfect, and I am a big fan of non-linear.

So what does this have to do with glass? Everything! Artist collaboration possibilities, tutorials, FAQ's help with problems. Think of Its is a GREAT site and it used to be a great resource (keep the flamethrowers pointed to the ground until I finish this thread and duck). But it is linearly structured and HUGE. The overwhelming winner in the 'most frequent phrase written in posts on' contest is "Someone has already written a lot about that, look in the archives". And as someone who has tried to find useful information in the archives, I can confidently say... no I can't. I don't use words like that in print. There is just too much information there to have to sift through it to find the relevant bits.

So what is a wiki and why would this be better? Because instead of having (100 million) individual posts which are not ranked for relevance show up in a search on, say, "kiln wash", you can have one editable entry on kiln wash that all members of the community can update or even multiple related entries on kiln wash (like multiple encyclopedia entries for a word).

The limitation of discussion groups is that they are too linear and searching the archives of a large one is at best difficult and time-consuming, at worst a complete waste of time. The limitation of a traditional website is that it is designed as a one-way flow of information and keeping it current for an audience like the warmglass group is too time-consuming even for a dedicated team of people. With a wiki, everyone who has a stake in the community shares in the responsibility of keeping the information current, and it is well-organized and accessible to new members.

Will I do anything with this new technology? I don't know. My plate is pretty full right now. Maybe the best I can do is offer it up to the new generation of kilnformed glass artists and say "Hey! You grew up with computers. Why don't you build a cool wiki for us old folks?"


Bill Paley said...

Yes, you old antique. Imagine, you posting all you know online...

Barbara Muth said...

A wiki -- what a great idea! of course you'd have to filter out all of the wrong information... Brad has started the warmtips site. I think a lot of the tips are a compendium of the collective experience/knowledge of the board.

I am one of those bad people who send people to search the archives. But I won't flame you! You're right. It's my response to people who want to be spoon fed the how tos and aren't interested in doing a little research and testing to figure out how to solve a problem. GRRRRR! I'll bet you they won't use the wiki either.

I'll bet, BTW, that there isn't much you could learn from the board. You have been at this long enough to make you an expert!